As the summer heat rises, Horizon Theatre Company launches the Atlanta Premiere of every tongue confess by one of today’s hottest playwrights Marcus Gardley. Imaginative director Thomas W. Jones II brings Gardley’s passion-filled mystery to life with the help of original blues and gospel music by Composer and Music Director S. Renée Clark. Jones calls the work “a highly theatrical rollercoaster ride that is both provocative and redemptive,” and continues, “People will be healed by this play.”
every tongue confess runs July 12 to August 25, 2013 at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points/Inman Park (1083 Austin Avenue NE, 30307, corner of Euclid and Austin Avenues). Performances are Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Tickets and information are available at horizontheatre.com or 404-584-7450.
Hailed by critics as the next August Wilson, Gardley is a poet-playwright whose work is rooted in both history and magic realism and brings a new perspective to African American storytelling.
“I want to make people dream,” says Gardley. “I want to inspire people, give them hope, talk about difficult things. Ask big questions… My hope in all my works is to look at history in a new way, to tell the stories that we don’t know, the stories that were hidden.” Originally produced at Arena Stage in Washington D.C., the play received nominations for the Steinberg New Play Award, the Charles MacArthur Award, and was a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award. Said the Washingtonian of the play, “Part magic realism, part miracle play, part parable, every tongue confess is a sort of epic theater-poem exploring sin, loss, and redemption…Gardley’s script combines humor with raw, searing emotion.”
every tongue confess brings light to conflicts around race, faith, and family. The play is a perfect fit with Horizon’s mission of connecting people, inspiring hope, and promoting positive change through the stories of our times. And in fact, Gardley shares a similar vision. “In all of my plays, there’s a sense of community…This is the reason I do theater – to bring people together…My job is to write to all people…I want to find a way to bring more young people and diverse groups into theater.” With an intergenerational, diverse cast and engaging story, the work provides many windows through which audience members can take the journey and find resolution. Horizon Theatre Company
The summer heat is rising and flames are flying high in this fantastical whodunit uncovering the culprit behind a string of church fires in Boligee, Alabama. As the temperature climbs, the church goers start gossiping and the secrets slip out – a widow touched by the Holy Spirit, a son with big dreams, a stranger with a mysterious past, a young girl whose voice has left her, and a father who struggles to connect. Wrapped in combustible comedy and the sweat-soaked gospel and blues music of the Deep South, intergenerational stories of loss and redemption collide. Gardley blends ancient myth and magical realism with the local TV news to create a fiery theatrical furnace in which some will be saved, some will be purged, and the truth cannot escape.
DIRECTOR and COMPOSER/MUSIC DIRECTOR
Thomas W. Jones II brings his signature highly-kinetic directing style to this play fused with music, comedy, and mystery.
He has directed, written, and performed in more than 150 plays worldwide. Last summer’s world premiere of Sheddin’ marked his eighth Horizon Theatre production, having previously written and directed A Cool Drink A Water, Three Sistahs, and Two Queens One Castle and directed Blue, The Bluest Eye, Hallelujah Street Blues, and And Her Hair Went With Her. Sheddin’ was recently awarded a featured slot at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Tom is co-founder of Jomandi Productions in Atlanta, where for over 20 years as Co-Artistic Director and later Producing Director, he saw Jomandi soar to become the third largest African-American theatre company in the United States. In 2000, Tom and his co-founders left Jomandi to create VIA International Artists, Inc. His work as writer, director, and actor has been acclaimed nationally and internationally. His work has received 39 Washington, DC Helen Hayes Award nominations, winning 12 awards, including Best Director for Home and Bessie’s Blues, which he also wrote. He has also received three New York Audelco Award nominations, the Dramalogue Award, the San Diego Critics Award, and the NAACP Phoenix Award among others.
Horizon also welcomes back longtime collaborator and Suzi Award-winner S. Renée Clark (Sheddin’, Three Sistahs, Avenue Q) as composer and music director for every tongue confess. Says Gardley of the importance of the music in his play, “I grew up in the church and my father was a preacher, so gospel naturally comes out of me. But gospel, at its root, is the blues. It’s very powerful. I like music that gets to the heart of the story without too much flourish.” Ms. Clark will bring that power to every tongue confess with her original music and soundscape.
Marcus Gardley is a self-described poet-playwright who Horizon first encountered when he came to workshop his play Sweet Dream Grandpa in Horizon’s 2003 New South Play Festival while he was still in graduate school for playwriting at Yale. He returned to Atlanta in 2005 as a finalist in the first Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition at the Alliance Theatre. He grew up in the 1980s in Oakland, CA where he spent his Sundays in church listening to his father preach. The black church has informed and inspired some of Gardley’s finest work, including every tongue confess.
Though he started out as a poet, Gardley became captivated by playwriting during his college years at San Francisco State. He went on to Yale School of Drama where he studied under celebrated African American playwright Lynn Nottage. Immediately after receiving his MFA he was commissioned to write dance of the holy ghost as part of Yale Repertory Theatre’s 2005-2006 season. He then started a seven-year residency with New Dramatists in New York City.
In addition to the premiere of every tongue confess at Arena Stage, Gardley’s other recent premieres are On The Levee, a musical which premiered at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater and was nominated for 11 Audelco Awards including outstanding playwright, and And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi, which was produced at The Cutting Ball Theater and received the SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination for outstanding new play. Other notable productions are dance of the holy ghost at Yale Repertory Theatre (now under a Broadway option), (L)imitations of Life at the Empty Space in Seattle, and like sun fallin’ in the mouth at the National Black Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of a Helen Merrill Award, a Kesselring Honor, the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre Award, the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Scholarship, and the ASCAP Cole Porter Award.
Though still early in his career, Gardley has quickly become a rising star in American theatre. He was recently awarded a playwriting residency at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago by the Mellon Foundation, chosen as one of 50 writers to watch by Dramatists Magazine, and awarded the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels award for Mid-Career Playwright. He is a member of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild, and The Lark Play Development Center, as well as a professor of Playwriting at Brown University.
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM
every tongue confess highlights familiar faces and new talent with Horizon veterans Minka Wiltz, Bernardine Mitchell, and Enoch King anchoring the cast. Audiences will remember Wiltz from her commanding performance as Pearl in Horizon’s Black Pearl Sings in 2010. Here she takes on the role of preacher and healer Mother Sister, a widow touched by the Holy Spirit. Mitchell returns to Horizon after 2011’s acclaimed production of Three Sistahs, this time playing Missionary, a gospel storyteller who helps weave the mysterious Southern tale. King, most recently seen as Hambone in Two Trains Running at True Colors Theatre Company and on the Horizon stage as Walter in The Waffle Palace, joins Mitchell as one of the three storytellers, Brother.
Broadway, film, and television star Victor Love makes his Horizon debut as the play’s enigmatic stranger Blacksmith. Brian Kurlander takes on the challenging role of estranged father Stoker Pride after appearances across Atlanta including roles in Fly and My Name is Asher Lev at Theatrical Outfit, In the Next Room at Synchronicity Theatre, and last summer at Georgia Shakespeare. Deborah Bowman and Lauren Boyd also make their Horizon debuts as mother and daughter pair Bernadette and Benny Pride. Bowman is new to Atlanta and is a regular in the city’s jazz scene, while Boyd returns to Atlanta after pursing an MFA at The New School in New York. Rounding out the cast are Brad Raymond, seen regularly in the Alliance Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, as gospel chorus leader Elder as well as grave digger Jeremiah, and recent Tri-Cities High School graduate Richard Hatcher as Mother Sister’s son Shadrack.
Set designers Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay (Horizon’s The Book Club Play, The Waffle Palace, Time Stands Still) return after several acclaimed designs for a more abstract venture with this show. Also returning are Nyrobi Moss (Horizon’s Sheddin’, Three Sistahs, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery) handling costumes and resident lighting designer Mary Parker (Suzi Award for Avenue Q, also The Book Club Play, The Waffle Palace, Time Stands Still). New to Horizon are video designer Mike Post (Georgia Shakespeare’s The Glass Menagerie and many shows at the Center for Puppetry Arts), sound designer Jason Polhemus (Georgia Ensemble Theatre), and props designer Pamela Hickey (Atlanta Opera). The team is lead by stage manager Jude W. Futral, one of Horizon’s regular collaborators.
BRING A GROUP!
every tongue confess is the perfect summer outing for your church group, alumni organization, or social circle! Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Horizon has a lounge space available for rental for pre-show gatherings. Contact Marketing Manager, Kristen Gwock Silton at 404-523-1477 x111 for more information.
General admission tickets for every tongue confess start at $20. Tickets may be ordered by phone at 404-584-7450 or online at www.horizontheatre.com. Performances start July 12, 2013 and run through August 25, 2013. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 5 p.m. Ticket prices are subject to change. 8% sales tax will be added to all ticket orders. Internet convenience fee added to all online orders. No refunds, exchanges, or late seating.
Mother Sister Minka Wiltz*
Blacksmith Victor Love*
Missionary/Tender Meeks Bernardine Mitchell*
Brother/Bobby Enoch King*
Stoker Pride Brian Kurlander*
Bernadette Deborah Bowman*
Elder/Jeremiah Brad Raymond
Shadrack Richard Hatcher
Benny Pride Lauren Boyd
*Member of Actors Equity Association
Director Thomas W. Jones II
Playwright Marcus Gardley
Composer/Music Director S. Renée Clark
Scenic Designers Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay
Lighting Designer Mary Parker
Costume Designer Nyrobi Moss
Video Designer Mike Post
Props Designer Pamela Hickey
Sound Designer Jason Polhemus
Stage Manager Jude Futral*